What Twitter’s Character Reduction Means for Content Creators

twitter fewer characterYou may have noticed a few changes on Twitter concerning the length of your tweets as early as November or December of 2012. The social media giant began experimenting with reducing the size of tweets that include links to other sites. Now, as announced on their official blog, these changes are now in full effect as of February 6, 2013.

In short, instead of the 140 character limit, tweets with a URL will be limited to 118 characters while those with an https link will be reduced to 117 characters. What exactly does this mean for content creators? Brevity is now king of everything.

It’s Official: Your Tweets are Shorter

It’s a little ironic that Twitter is considered the godfather of the rise of short form content, yet now 140 characters is considered “long form” content. Yet if 140, 118, or 117 characters seem too short for you, we have an encouraging reminder. As we’ve previously covered, the core of your content development should be focused on your blog or website. Twitter is only one piece of the puzzle – and it should be more on the marketing side of things, not content creation!

Nevertheless, tweets are still content, no matter how short. They represent you and your brand in a few words.

Add Character to Your Tweets without Additional Characters

Because of Twitter’s culture where posts are more frequent and stream-of-thought-based compared to Facebook, it’s vital for your brand to showcase character in its tweets. Yet despite the added brand character, we want to keep the number of characters to a minimum.

Try to keep tweets under 100 characters. A recent report from Buddy Media shows us that tweets less than 100 characters receive 17% higher engagement than longer posts. Furthermore, tweets with links and pictures receive 86% high RT rates than their link- and imageless counterparts.

Do daily searches to see who is mentioning you on Twitter. Not everyone who says something about you on Twitter will use or even know your Twitter handle. Using a service such as Topsy allows you to see who’s talking about you. Remember to find and engage the people who talk about you whether or not they know or use your Twitter handle.

Measure success. One of the great things about Bitly – the service that shortens longer links for free – is that you can track how many people click on them. Since Twitter doesn’t have its own analytics page a la Facebook, using Bitly is a great way to track the ROI on your tweets with links.

Use scheduling platforms such as HootSuite or Tweetdeck. By scheduling your tweets, you don’t have to worry about always posting on time – these platforms take care of that for you. Plus, now you have the opportunity to plan your clever tweets in advance!

Ultimately, Twitter’s character reduction is just another step in the shift in the paradigm from long form content to short form. Implementing these tips will make it easier for you and your brand to stay focused yet interesting in just a few words!

Have you noticed the character reduction on Twitter? How does your business or agency use Twitter to boost conversions?


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Daniel Chioco is a writer living in Nashville, TN. He earned his Commercial Music degree at Belmont University, where he also studied creative writing and wrote for the student newspaper. When he isn't creating content, Daniel works as an actor and films YouTube videos. He is also a freelance musician and is authoring his first fantasy novel.

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